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Old 09-28-2009, 03:45 PM
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Default Tire Basics

Old Page From the original CarolinaRiders website:

TIRE BASICS - Selecting the right tires for the job
Sport Touring Tires:

Extended life comes from harder-compound rubber (sometimes several compounds in one tire) but the trade-off is a reduction of adhesion in comparison to the soft rubber tire. A sport-touring tire is also less tolerant of race track temperature extremes so if the majority of your riding is on the track, you will need a softer tire. The other thing to keep in mind is that sport touring tires need to have good "wet performance" too. This calls for numerous and deeper tread grooves. This reduces the amount of rubber actually meeting with the pavement which creates more heat for the contacting areas for the tire. That is why the harder compounds are needed in the tire construction.

Examples of Sport-touring tires: Avon AV45/46 Azaro ST, Bridgestone BT020, Continental Conti-Force, Dunlop D220, Metzeler ME-Z4, Michelin Pilot Road, Pirelli Dragon AVS.

Sport Tires:

Sport tires are the main tire used in the replacement market for top sportbikes. These are the tires that the manufacturers usually fit to the high performance sport bikes. It is usually best to stick with the original equipment manufacturer's product as there are many times worthwhile differences specified by your motorcycle manufacturer for the tires they fit to every new bike. Sport tires are suitable for fast street riders and the occasional track rider. This type of tire works well in a broad range of conditions especially if it starts to rain!

Examples of Sport tires: Avon AV49/50 Azaro SP, Bridgestone BT012 (not SS), Continental Conti-Force Max, Dunlop D2087ZR, Maxxis SuperMaxx, Metzeler Sportec M1, Michelin Pilot Sport, Pirelli Diablo & Diablo Corsa.

Super-Sport Tires:

These tires are just stickier than regular sport tires. Another way of looking at them is that they are DOT-Racing tires with a harder formulated compound and very little tread pattern. Sticky has it's price though with reduced life, minimal "wet performance", and minimal cold weather grip. This is the tire for the hard-fast street rider who also participates in the occasional track day.

Examples of Super-Sport tires: Avon AV49/50 Azaro SP Pro-series, Bridgestone BT012SS, Dunlop D207RR, Metzeler Rennsport (street compound, no RS suffix), Michelin Pilot Race H2, Pirelli Dragon SuperCorsa (street compound, no SC suffix).

DOT-Racing Tires:

This hot category of tires has been developed for racers and not really for street riders. The DOT-race tires are re-designed race slicks using a slight amount of tread so that they can be DOT approved for "On-Road Use" but beware! Racing tires need lots of heat for optimal performance. They are sensitive to heat cycles which means that at their ideal operating temperature, plasticizers in the rubber are liberated making the rubber pliable. The more plasticizer that is released, the stickier the tire! This only happens when the tire is hot. When the temperature drops and the plasticizer has been depleted, the tire turns hard resulting in very little grip. These tires can turn on you in the rain! These are best for those who either have a dedicated track bike or for those who spend 90% of their riding time on the track. For most riders, the previous "Super-Sport Tire" proves the best choice.

Examples of DOT-Racing tires: Bridgestone BT001R, Dunlop D208GP-A, Metzeler Rennsport RS1 & RS2, Michelin Pilot Race M2 & S2, Pirelli Supercorsa SC1, SC2.

The best tire advise that most people give to each other is to carefully pick a tire to fit your "everyday" riding conditions. Very few of us spend more than a couple of times a year on the track but most of us have been caught out on a ride in a rain storm. As most of us are predominantly street riders, we must consider dry and wet performance as well as the number of miles we each ride per year. Who wants to buy a tire every 3000 miles! Just remember, the softer the tire, the more often you will have to replace it especially when you are heavy on the throttle like me! My OEM Pirelli Dragon AVS that came on my 2002 Ducati ST4s has lasted me 3800 miles and now it needs to be replaced.
Genetics loads the gun - the environment pulls the trigger.
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